Transitions

If Little Bear could stay in one area and do his thing and then move to another area of his choosing at a time of his choosing, he would be the happiest little bear in the world. However, the world – and, more specifically, school – does not work that way. Little Bear struggled and dealt with it at Fancy Child Care Center and was starting to show huge improvements in his socialization and participation. He went from a year behind to about 6 months behind. He’s been at Fancy Religious Child Care Center for two weeks now and he has tanked.

We don’t blame the school or the teachers – not in the least. They’ve been nothing but wonderful to us and to him. They keep in close contact through messenger and send us daily pictures and videos. It’s really a phenomenal school that we’re very excited to send our older son to over the summer. However. HOWEVER. Little Bear… not impressed. At all.

He throws toys, snatches them from other children, refuses to participate, and doesn’t want to play with other kids. He’s basically just mean. He’s even been less cooperative with his therapists since leaving Fancy Child Care Center. He’s begun to bite and scratch more often, too. Even at home, he bites me at least once a day in sensory-seeking or attention-seeking ways.

The cause… well… we’re not sure. It could very well be the ear tubes falling out. I can’t imagine how it must feel to be dizzy and hear everything like you’re underwater. And to combine that feeling with a new school where you don’t know anyone and are not familiar with the routine… That’s difficult. I know he’s struggling. I see him struggling. Before I’d always take him every day we paid for, even if I wasn’t working. I knew he’d get the benefit of circle time and playground interaction. Now, I keep him home and we go to the park together instead. Every day I worry about getting a message about him biting another kid or snatching toys or just generally misbehaving.

Papi Bear and I had a long talk about it last night. It came down to this: We put Little Bear into school for socialization. He is not socializing. He actively avoids other children as much as possible. We don’t know if it’s him who is regressing or if it’s the transition that’s tough on him or if it’s the hearing issues that are making him irritable. Our final decision is that we’re giving him two weeks post-op to improve. After two weeks, we’ll meet with the director, the school’s counselor, and one of his therapists and decide if there’s been improvement and, if so, what can be done to help him along. If there isn’t improvement, we will pull him from the school and I will change my work schedule from 830-5 to 1030-7/1130-8 and begin to homeschool him in the mornings and schedule his OT and SLP in the afternoons while I’m working.

We don’t think Little Bear has regressed into a closed-off state. He’s not making as much eye contact, but when you get up in his face and start sticking your tongue out or playing with him, he’s back to normal. When he’s in the dark, he’s actually really playful. Every night this week we’ve had to go into the boys’ bedroom and yell at them to get to bed because they’re both in Little Bear’s bed, playing, tickling, and laughing. We’ve seen his little personality come out. We know he’s a social kid, albeit a bit awkward, but so were (are) both of his parents. We just need to get him in a situation where he’s getting the attention he needs in order to thrive.

And that’s where we are. We’re at a point where Little Bear will take the lead and show us what he needs. If he needs Mama Bear to make a homeschool for him for a few months, so be it. If he shows us that it was completely the tubes and he’s back on track once they’re in place, then we’ll stay in Fancy Religious Child Care Center. Whatever is happening, we’re very glad that his school has been extremely supportive and not accusatory towards us. That goes a long way when your child has special needs.

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Tubes

When Little Bear was born, he failed his newborn hearing test. We tested him three more times and he failed, failed, and failed again. At first, we feared he was deaf. He wasn’t looking when we called his name and he only looked towards noises if they were extremely loud. We didn’t realize at the time that he wasn’t neurotypical, with the added issue of conductive hearing loss. The conductive hearing loss was confirmed by an audiologist and his ENT placed ear tubes last March.

The ear tubes helped him reach his gross motor milestones. Within two weeks of theirScreen Shot 2017-03-18 at 10.04.34 PM placement, he began to walk regularly, at 19 months. We waited anxiously for the speaking to come, but it never did. A few new words came out here and there, but no big blossom like the ENT had promise would happen. It was soon afterwards that we took Little Bear in for a neuro consult and he received his initial PDD diagnosis.

The ear tubes stayed in place until about 3 weeks ago. Around the time the right one fell out, he started to bite again. Within a week, he had an ear infection and the pediatrician said the fluid was back. That same week he bit two days in a row and he was booted from daycare. His behavior became more short-tempered and his attention span dropped. He just wasn’t himself once the tubes came out.

We went to the audiologist on Wednesday for a hearing test. He failed. We saw the ENT for his follow-up on Friday. He said the left tube was out, too. Both ears had fluid. That, combined with behavioral changes and the ear infection meant we were headed straight for new tubes. Sigh.

Little Bear loved the ENT, though. He followed him into another exam room and yelled, “BYE BYE!” to him and, “Abrazos!”

Meanwhile, I begged and pleaded with the scheduler to try to bump him up as soon as possible so he doesn’t get kicked out of school.